How do you optimize for Google Discover?

Brands will need to focus more on the quality of the content they produce as well as its audience engagement.

John E Lincoln on December 10, 2018 at 8:00 am 

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Google Discover is, essentially, Google’s take on the popular social media feed.

In fact, until very recently, Discover was actually called Google Feed.

Like other feeds, Google’s comes in the form of a series of cards meant to keep users up to date on the stories that matter most to them.

The feed, which is based off a user’s browser history (pay attention to that marketing people), indicated interests, and machine learning, marks a new phase in Google search – one that doesn’t actually require any searching on the user’s part.

Rather than relying on user’s to enter in a typical search, the Discover feed gives users information before they even search for it.

And with over 800 million users, the Feed has proved to be a hit.

As Google continues its efforts to make search as seamless as possible, it debuted a slew of new features coming by the end of the year.

One of them was the revamped Google Feed, now called Discover.

Updates to the Discover feed include:

  • New look: The design has been completely redone, with an emphasis on visual content. And now, each post will come with a clickable topic header and Discover icon. When clicked on, it will display related content.
  • Updated content:  Before, most of the content surfaced in the Feed was news coverage, but with the launch of Discover Google announced its plans to include more evergreen content (content isn’t new, but may be new to you). Based on your search history, it will also pull content based on your experience with a certain subject (ex. If you’re a beginner at guitar, it will show you beginner material)
  • More control: At the bottom of each card, you can indicate whether you’d like to see more or less of a particular kind of content.
  • Discover on the homepage: Previously, Google Feed was accessible through the Google mobile app, but now Google plans to show the Discover feed on all mobile browsers.

Optimizing for Google Discover

Google Discover represents a major shift in how people use the search engine. Mainly, users no longer have to rely on their own search queries to find the topics most relevant to them.

For brands, it represents a shift in SEO.

Without search queries, keyword optimization won’t be enough to rank your content in Discover. But the good news is this – a lot of the same SEO rules still apply.

Original Article Here

Repair your reputation: Displace mugshots with your family photo album

You have the tools to suppress your own mugshots in search engines’ results by publishing a bunch of images associated with your name. Here’s how.

Chris Silver Smith on December 7, 2018 at 7:35 am 

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A close friend in online marketing approached me for advice because their son had been arrested for possession of marijuana and mugshots had begun ranking for his name in search engines. When arrest photos like this appear online, they can be fixed relatively easily, as online reputation management issues go. Read on, and I’ll explain.

The mugshot website problem

Mugshot sites are generally rather scummy. They harvest data from city, county and state policing agencies, thanks to freedom of information laws, and then they build entire websites upon the data. Arrest records and mugshots are considered public information and that used to not be all that commonly accessible. Now these mugshot websites work diligently to optimize their websites to make their pages as visible as possible.

Mugshot websites generally create a page for each individual, including information about the city and state where they were arrested, their mugshot photo, the charges for which they were arrested and sometimes additional details such as aliases, distinctive characteristics, tattoos and more.

Mugshot profile pages typically are built to feature the names of people arrested as the main titles of the pages. This particularly optimizes the pages, helping them to rank well along with the image content. So when the names of people arrested are searched upon in Google and Bing, these pages can rank high in the search results, following those individuals around as they try to live life, negatively impacting their personal relationships and careers.

These websites make money through two primary avenues: revenues derived from the ads appearing on their sites and various ways of charging individuals in return for removing the arrest records and mugshots. You might well ask whether the latter is legal, since it sounds a bit like an extortion scheme. It is, but I think it should not be since these sites rarely exercise the sort of responsibility that should ethically accompany this type of data.

Others agree with me on that – for instance, some credit card and financial service companies decline to work with the mugshot sites. And, some states have made it a crime to charge someone to remove the mugshot. Even so, the mugshot sites have found shady ways to still get money in return for removals – such as making a behind-closed-door business deal with online reputation management companies. The mugshot website recommends the reputation firm to people seeking to have information removed and the reputation firm takes the payments from people wanting removals and gives a portion of that money back to the mugshot site.

This is what makes the issue so slimy. Each time you pay a mugshot site, or a reputation firm that has partnered with them, your money helps keep the whole thing going. You may not realize that the mugshot website operator may own half a dozen other arrest websites which you also must pay in order to have the inconvenient material removed. Once you have paid one this may give them an incentive to publish the materials in other places.

If you pay one company to take it down, the chances are that there may be other websites where it also appears. Once it disappears from one website, you may find three more that you were not aware of, waiting in the wings to rise into visibility in the search results.

Google now helps those with mugshots

It is the high visibility in search engine results that often makes a mugshot so destructive. This is where Google actually has lended a hand to those facing this problem.

Five years ago, Google began demoting mugshot websites in the search rankings. This means that despite those mugshot websites’ efforts to show up as effectively as possible, they usually cannot outrank other materials for the same searches. Google made it harder for their pages and the mugshot photo images to rank as high.

Unfortunately, the mugshots or arrest pictures can and do frequently still show up. Google’s suppression fix may have eroded some in the intervening years, but typically mugshots only pop up high in search results when there are not other contents that are relevant for the same name. These things usually appear in cases where the person featured in the mugshot has a very unique name that is shared by few-to-no others, and they have kept a generally low profile on the internet. If you have no photos or few photos associated with your name on the internet, then when a photo is published with your arrest records it is likely to become prominent very fast. Nature abhors a void, and in this sort of situation, so does Google.

Google’s mugshot suppression fix helps you when there are more pictures available for your name. So, if you find your mugshot is showing up on page one in Google, then you will want to publish your own photos on pages you control which cast you in a positive light.

How to optimize your positive photos to replace the mugshots

It’s desirable to have a few handfuls of photos of yourself to use in your project. Google does not like to show a list of pages with identical content in the search results, so you cannot use 20 copies of the same photo for this purpose.

This is where your family photo album may be your best friend. You will need digital copies of the pics of you, so if you only have hard copies, scan them or take pictures of the photos with your cell phone. The best file format is generally going to be JPG or JPEG, but GIF can also work as well as PNG.

While the pictures do not have to be only of you – they can include other people in them along with you. However, you do want a number of them that are only of you, and the ones with others as well should mostly feature you within them as a primary or prominent subject.

If you already have a Facebook profile, Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter, you can use those to your advantage. Make sure you have a good picture to use for your profiles – you can also search to see what the best picture size is for each of those services. Be sure to change your settings if you have your profiles set to private or hidden posts. You need public profiles in order for the search engines to access and display photos.

Note: If you are concerned with privacy, you can set up separate social media profiles just for this project and keep your personal Facebook and Twitter accounts private. On Facebook, it is easiest to Create a Page, which is done while logged-in under your personal account. The Page can be public-facing, while your personal profile is not.

Social media accounts for this purpose should be created with your name as the profile name. Over the course of a number of days, post one or two pics a day and include your name in the captions of the image (where applicable) or in the update posting text, along with varying additional description of what the photo is of, where it was taken, and/or the dates.

Other free image sharing services can be useful, too, such as Flickr.

If you are not intimidated by setting up your own webpages, having a personal website can be very advantageous to publish more images of yourself. Obtain a domain name that is brief and contains your name. Then launch a website on it using WordPress as the website software.

As a less-daunting option, you can set up a personal website at for free, and the website software is already set up and ready-to-go.

Additional places to set up personal webpages include: Tumblr,, Yelp, LinkedIn,,, etc. Many other sites can be useful beyond these, as well, if you look around for them.

Add your personal photo as the profile image at these places as well as posts where applicable that feature your photos. Always try to include your name in the image file names (ex: “YourName.jpg”), captions and what is called “ALT” or alternative text (this is text that is hidden from the casual internet user, but which tells machines what the subject matter of an image is).

Once you have published your photos in all of these various places, and Google has had an opportunity to find them and index them, you will be delighted to see that your desired photos began appearing higher in the search results and should begin displacing the negative mugshot image!

This same approach can simultaneously work in Bing search results but at a much slower rate. Bing has not applied a helpful suppression to these sorts of sites so greater efforts over a longer period may be necessary to offset mugshots there.

Original Article Here

8 best online reputation management tools for your brand

As more buyers rely on online research, your brand’s reputation can make or break your business. These 9 handy ORM tools will help.

Sponsored Content: Awario on November 27, 2018 at 8:28 am

If your brand has an online presence at all, you can’t not worry about its reputation. Today, online reputation management (or ORM for short) is not only applicable to every business; ignoring it can cost you customers and money. Here’re just some of the reasons why ORM should be an integral part of your strategy:

  • Consumers increasingly rely on online research when considering a purchase. 88 percent of buyers research products online before making a purchase (online or in-store); and 86 percent will hesitate to purchase from a business that has negative reviews.
  • Leaving brand reputation to chance can lead to a crisis. Monitoring your reputation and reacting promptly will help you avoid crises and full-on disasters, and prevent negative news about your business from spreading.
  • Your brand’s online reputation can affect your site’s rankings. It’s official: Google uses an algorithmic solution designed to de-rank sites that offer poor customer experience.
  • Monitoring your online reputation will give you valuable customer insights: what people love about your product, what they wish they could change, and what they feel is missing.

Now that we’re clear on the benefits of ORM, let’s see which tools can help you facilitate and automate the process.

1.   Awario

Monitor what people are saying about your brand across social media and the web, and spot trends with Sentiment Analysis and powerful analytics. 

Awario is a social listening tool that makes reputation management easy. The platform will track your brand’s mentions across the major social networks and the web in real-time and let you respond to them right from the app.

To help you spot mentions that require your immediate attention, the tool offers Sentiment Analysis. The Sentiment graph in the dashboard shows you the share of positive and negative mentions of your business, letting you locate spikes you need to address.

On top of that, the tool helps you spot copyright infringements and find people stealing your content. To get started, just create an alert with an extract of your copy in quotes to make the app search for an exact match.

But the real power is in Awario’s competitor analysis capabilities. If you create monitoring alerts for your competition, you’ll be able to listen in on what their customers are happy or unhappy about, and learn from your rivals’ mistakes. Furthermore, you can compare mentions of your brand (in volume, sentiment, reach, and a number of other factors) to competitors’ and see where you’re winning and where you’re lagging behind.

Pricing: Awario offers 3 plans: Starter for individuals ($29/mo), Pro for SMBs ($89/mo), and Enterprise for agencies and big brands ($299/mo). If you go with an annual plan, you’ll get 2 months for free. To try Awario before you settle on a paid plan, sign up for a free trial.

2.   Reputology

Monitor and manage online reviews of your local business in real-time.

Reputology helps local businesses track their online reviews. Apart from the common review platforms like Google and Facebook Reviews, Reputology monitors industry-specific review sites, be it real estate, hospitality, or healthcare. Of course, you can also respond to these reviews from the app.

Reputology works particularly well for multi-location businesses that want to keep reviews of each of their locations in one place: it lets you drill down on why certain locations are not doing as well as others, and measure your brand’s overall reputation across locations.

The best bit is, the tool integrates with Hootsuite. The integration lets you monitor and manage your reviews in the same dashboard where you keep your social media accounts – super handy if SMM and review management are both done by the same team in your company.

Pricing: Reputology charges from $10 to $49/mo for every location. You can sign up for a free trial before you settle on a plan.

3.   GoFish Digital Complaint Search

Search over 40 complaint websites for negative reviews of your business.

GoFish Digital’s Google-powered complaint search is a handy way to check on your brand’s health. It lets you perform searches on over 40 websites to see if anyone’s filed a complaint against your business (remember, these reviews might potentially start ranking in Google for your brand name!).

From there, you can see which reviews are the most popular, see your brand’s ratings, and respond to complaints on most websites the platform monitors. On some of the sites, you’ll be able to flag or remove reviews if they don’t reflect the reality.

Pricing: Free.

4.   SEO SpyGlass

Monitor your backlink profile and prevent spammy, low-quality links from ruining your rankings.

SEO SpyGlass is different from the other tools on this list. While it’s not specifically designed to track a brand’s overall reputation, it helps you monitor and manage the biggest factor of your reputation when it comes to SEO: backlinks. With a whole new backlink index, recently launched in beta (the public release is happening any day now), the tool claims to have the most up-to-date link index on the market.

What’s particularly handy isn’t the data itself though – it’s the analysis the app is capable of. It lets you analyze the authority of each of your links (aka InLink Rank) and measure the Penalty Risk of your backlinks to prevent potential search engine penalties (both algorithmic and manual).

On top of that, the tool offers a Domain Comparison module that lets you compare your link profile to competitors’ to see which aspects of off-page SEO you’re rocking, and which ones you need to work on to catch up.

Pricing: Paid plans start at $124.75 per license. There’s a free version available with a limited number of backlinks to analyze.


Real-time social media monitoring with data-rich, customizable reports. is a tool that lets you win more positive reviews from happy customers by automating multi-channel review acquisition campaigns via email or text messages. The tool also monitors new reviews about your business, with a way to respond to them from the app.

For agencies, offers white-label reports that reveal trends in the volume of your reviews and let you measure the ROI of your ORM efforts.

Pricing: offers 3 plans: Professional ($90/mo), Agency ($200/mo), and Enterprise ($1500/mo). There’s a free trial available if you’d like to test the tool before you commit to a paid plan.

6.   Brandwatch

Perform in-depth brand reputation analysis and create powerful, data-rich reports.

Brandwatch is a powerful social listening and analytics tool. With Enterprise-level features like image recognition, trending topics and API access, it is also one of the more costly ones.

The tool offers demographic analysis of the people who’re talking about your brand, including gender, interests, occupation, and location. The platform’s social media coverage includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and local social media sites like Sina Weibo, VK, and QQ.

For those of you who’re ready to invest into a data visualization platform, Brandwatch has a handy tool called Vizia. Vizia lets you visualize your Brandwatch data and combine it with insights from Google Analytics, Buzzsumo, and Hootsuite for a holistic analysis.

Pricing: Brandwatch is an Enterprise-level tool. Prices start at $800/month, with custom Enterprise plans available on request. The tool doesn’t offer a free trial.

7.   ReviewTrackers

Keep track of online reviews and encourage happy customers to review your business.

ReviewTrackers does exactly what the name implies – it monitors online reviews of your business across 100+ sites. You can set up email alerts to get notified about important reviews, and build powerful custom reports tailored to your needs. On top of that, ReviewTrackers aggregates your customers’ feedback and shows which aspects of your business customers tend to mention the most.

The platform also offers a mobile app to let you track and respond to reviews on the go.

Pricing: ReviewTrackers’ Professional plan is offered at $49/mo; Enterprise costs $59/mo. The tool has an Agency plan too, with pricing available on request.

8.   IFTTT

Set up automated alerts when your brand gets mentioned online.

IFTTT can help you with a million things, and keeping track of your online reputation is one of them. The service lets you create simple, automated tasks that all follow the “if this then that” pattern. You get to decide what this and that stand for.

For reputation management, the service offers a number of helpful integrations. You can track brand mentions on Reddit, receive email alerts or Slack notifications when your company gets mentioned on specific websites, and automatically thank Twitter users for sharing your content.

The tool is also available as a mobile app for both iOS and Android devices.

Pricing: Free.

Take Charge

The 8 tools above will help you take charge of your brand’s online reputation. Whichever platform you settle on, don’t expect them to do all the work for you: check on your monitoring dashboard to spot unusual spikes and respond to reviews (good or bad) promptly. And while dealing with negative reviews is an art of its own, remember that speed and a little humility can go a long way 🙂


Sponsored Content: Awario

Every day, the web is talking about your business. Most brands have limited insights into these conversations: only through their own social media feeds. To truly understand their customers, companies need access not only to their social media mentions, but to those from the rest of the web as well. Awario crawls over 13 billion web pages daily to bring instant mentions from everywhere online. Companies can now find all the important conversations, related to them, and join in. For more information and a free 14-day trial visit

Original Article Here

Is Google Image Search launching a new design for image preview?

Is Google Image Search launching a new design for image preview?

We’re waiting for official confirmation from Google but they may be rolling out a design update to their image search product.

Barry Schwartz on November 27, 2018 at 3:23 pm

Google appears to be rolling out a new design for the previews within image search results. When you click on an image, instead of loading the preview in a black background frame as it did previously, Google is now showing the image preview on the right-hand side. Many on social media and in forums are seeing this new design and interface, and I am personally able to replicate it in Chrome on my Mac while logged into Google.

The last design change to Google Image search was back in September 2018.

What does the image preview look like now? The screenshot above shows the image layout, including a white preview box on the right side. It shows a larger thumbnail of the image, the site name, title, description, copyright message, a share button, bookmark button, and a link to “see more.” It also shows related images and related searches for that specific image.

Original Article Here

The new world of marketing

The new world of marketing

Why AI should be part of your strategy.

Sponsored Content: Provided By IBM With Insider Studios on November 26, 2018 at 7:30 am

Machine learning is reinventing marketing — and a growing number of marketers know it. According to recent research from the IBM Institute for Business Value, 91 percent of marketers at companies that outperform their competitors believe artificial intelligence is important to the future of their organizations.

At the same time, only about a quarter of them use it today. Industry analysts report AI empowers businesses to mine and interpret valuable data and make stronger connections with their customers. Yet most still aren’t applying AI to their marketing strategies.

Today’s consumers expect a lot from digital experiences. They want marketing content that’s useful and relevant to their lives. In an age when deep learning has become so advanced that it’s uncovering multi-faceted customer behavior and helping brands forge lasting relationships, the time to leverage AI is now.

And the place to start is with IBM’s leading AI platform for marketers, Watson Marketing.

How well do you know your customers? With so much data sourced from online behavior, social media activity, and browsing patterns, delivering messages that matter to them should be easy. But consumers are complex. To provide a totally relevant marketing experience across channels, you need to extract the deep, evolving insights from behavior as it’s happening, something that only AI can do.

ING DIRECT Australia took this approach to create the “bank of the future” for its customers. Using Watson Marketing, ING interpreted users’ actions to help identify customer preferences, build loyalty, and boost trust. AI’s diverse capabilities enabled the company to filter data based on more than 100 contextual triggers daily, and deploy relevant messages to 1 million prospective customers a month.

Without the holistic view that AI can provide, it’s impossible to get the whole story about your customers’ behavior. You could wind up delivering the wrong message and compromising that vital loyalty and trust. But AI can help you positively influence the customer journey to get the conversions you need.

As digital technology has grown more sophisticated, the task of managing critical customer data has become overwhelming. There’s so much data to process and assess that humans simply can’t do it alone. If you want to succeed in today’s ever-changing, omnichannel environment, there’s no question about it: you’ve got to connect data from multiple sources. And doing that is easier than you think.

Original Article Here

Google showing fewer video and image boxes in the search results

Report: Google showing fewer video and image boxes in the search results

Were you getting traffic in Google from video carousels or image carousels? There was a change that might impact you.

According to data from search marketing platforms RankRanger and STAT Search Analytics, Google has dropped the percentage of time that video and images boxes show up in the search results. In fact, the data shows a 20 to 30 percent drop in these search features showing up in the Google web and mobile search results.

Video carousels or boxes drop. Around November 13th or 14th, according to these tools, Google began showing fewer video boxes or carousels.

Barry Schwartz on November 21, 2018 at 8:50 am

Original Article Here

6 SEO Myths about Alt Tags

Alt tags are a frequent to-do item for search engine optimization. But there’s much confusion surrounding the importance of optimizing alt tags. So it’s time for some myth-busting around this oft-misunderstood topic…

6 Alt Tag Myths

Myth 1: They’re called “alt tags.” To be exact, the name is “alternative attributes of an image tag.” The alt attribute is a modifier that gives descriptive information in an individual tag about the image within a page of HTML code. This information is useful to assist visually impaired consumers and search engine crawlers as they navigate the site.

For example, consider the “Holiday Toy List” image and alt attributes, below, from’s gift landing page.

The attributes contain the following elements.

  • img tag. Displays images on a page.
  • aria-hidden. Hides the image from screen readers and other assistive technology.
  • alt attribute. “Gifts by price. Shop tiny delights to big surprises.”
  • itemprop. A structured data element identifying this as an image.
  • src attribute. Specifies which image file to display.
  • style. Specifies the minimum width for the image.

The alt attribute is just one element of an image tag. Yes, “alt tag” is the commonly used name, but it’s not actually a tag. It’s like pointing to a scooter and calling it a car. People will understand that you recognize the scooter as a vehicle, but they may also think you’ve recently learned English.

Myth 2: Alt attributes can replace page text. There is no replacement for unique textual contentthat’s visible on the page and useful to visitors. If a page contains only images with no descriptive text, it will have a hard time ranking on search engines. Even perfectly optimized alt attributes will not usually have enough prominence to make a difference. They’re not strong enough SEO signals.

Myth 3: Alt attributes are mostly for SEO. Originally developed to assist visually impaired visitors, alt attributes have for many become solely an SEO element. This is false and dangerous because alt attributes could be “optimized” for SEO in ways that hinder their true purpose of improving accessibility.

In fact, SEO needs are best served by keeping the true purpose of alt attributes in the forefront. Short, descriptive alt attributes assist consumers in understanding what the image and the page are about and how to complete their desired actions. And those attributes also optimize for search engines — without having to worry about using too much content or too many keywords.

Whatever information will help blind visitors understand and act without overwhelming them with excess words is what you write in your alt attribute. For example, if the image is a product, the name of that product is an appropriate alt attribute. But make sure to add all of the relevant attributes for the product. Is it just a dress or is it a Calvin Klein black silk dress?

(As an aside, a useful test is to install an assistive technology, such as JAWS, which offers a free 40-minute trial, that reads the seen and unseen textual elements of a page. If you have trouble navigating your site on JAWS alone, visitors will likely have even more difficulty.)

Myth 4. Every image needs alt attributes. Some images are better served with blanks in the alt-attribute element. Images that are purely for navigation or design — spacers, lines, bullets — should not use alt attributes. Imagine having to listen to a screen reader say something like this just to understand that there are four navigational links in a menu:

“Graphic line separator graphic spacer gif bullet graphic orange arrow link toys and games graphic spacer gif bullet graphic orange arrow link clothing and accessories graphic spacer gif bullet graphic orange arrow link home and garden graphic spacer gif bullet graphic orange arrow link sports and outdoors graphic line separator.”

The presence of three images — a separating line image, a spacer image, and an orange bullet to delineate the list of options — takes 10 times the words to convey in a screen reader. Leaving the alt attribute blank for those three images would save the visually-impaired consumer time and increase her ability to use the site successfully. She would only have to listen to something like this:

“Bullet link toys and games bullet link clothing and accessories bullet link home and garden bullet link sports and outdoors.”

As noted above with Walmart’s image, you can also use the aria-hidden element to indicate which image attributes should be read aloud by assistive technologies. This preserves the value of descriptive alt attributes on without burdening screen-reader users.

Myth 5: Fix alt attributes immediately. Tackle other on-site SEO elements before you worry about optimizing alt attributes for existing images. Alt attributes have such a small SEO value that there is not enough benefit in launching an initiative to optimize them as a standalone tactic.

Instead, optimize (a) title tags and meta descriptions, (b) templates to give prominence to the optimal text fields, (b) and navigational and cross-linking elements. Then clean up duplicate content. After that, optimize alt attributes.

To be sure, there are times when alt attributes are important.

  • If image search is a priority.
  • For new images — include alt attributes as part of the upload process.
  • To improve accessibility.

Myth 6: Alt attributes are time-consuming to write. This one is mostly true unless you have the support of a developer. With the proper scripts, tools, and shortcuts, the process of writing alt attributes can be cut to a fraction of the time it would otherwise take.

Ask your developer to write a script for every product image to automatically include the product name and, possibly, a couple of highly relevant descriptions. Ask your photographer or graphic designer to label images descriptively. Rather than “image02345s.png,” name an image a way that a developer could write a script to build alt attributes.

Think hard about other automated ways to generate good alt attributes. Ask your developers and other digital marketers for assistance.

Otherwise, manually viewing and writing alt attributes for every image can take a ton of time. If you have to tackle it, prioritize intelligently. Start with the products that earn the most revenue, or that bring the highest margin.

Original Article Here

Early Signs Of A Google Search Algorithm Update

Early Signs Of A Google Search Algorithm Update

Nov 16, 2018 • 8:23 am | 

I am seeing some early signs that there may be a Google search algorithm update rolling out this morning. There is some early chatter in some of the forums and some, not all, of the automated tracking tools are also showing changes.

Again, this is very early, it might be a little blip in the radar but I think there is enough signals for me to report this as possible happening this morning. Be on the look out over the next 24 hours to see if your rankings in Google search have fluctuated a lot or not and if your traffic has changed at all. 

The WebmasterWorld and Black Hat World have some limited chatter, here are some of those comments:

Original Article Here

5 ways to make your holiday advertising campaigns more profitable

5 ways to make your holiday advertising campaigns more profitable

It’s time to start thinking about a holiday advertising strategy to reach the right customer base.

For retailers, it seems like the holiday shopping season starts earlier every year. If you’re an e-commerce retailer, that means it’s time to start thinking through your holiday advertising strategy.

There are a variety of tricks you can use to reach the right customer base and give them an online shopping experience that will not only win you their business now, but for months and years to come.

1. Get back to basics

As with any online advertising campaign, you need to understand what makes your business unique to effectively market yourself to potential customers.

What’s your unique selling point? Price? Convenience? Range of products? Emotional appeal? Warranty?

People can usually find what you’re selling somewhere else with a quick search and a few clicks so you have know what makes your company worth buying from and focus on that selling point.

Your unique selling point may not work for everyone, but during the holiday season, there are enough buyers that you can focus your advertising on what makes your business or products special. To do that, it pays to pull out your buyer personas and try to figure out who your target customers are, what they’re looking for and how to effectively target them.

For example, if your selling point for your watches is price, you’re going to target a very different group of keywords on paid search than if you are trying to sell Rolexes.

It might sound simple, but taking the time to get back to the basics and figure out who you’re targeting and why they’re buying can pay off big dividends—especially during the competitive holiday season.

2. Personalize your messaging

Given the size of the holiday shopping market, it can be hard to figure out how to stand out from the competition. Even if you know your buyer personas and what they want, it can still be tricky to figure out how to win a sale from them.

This is where personalization comes in handy.

The more specific you can make your target audience and the messaging you use with them, the more likely you are to get their business. For example, check out the following ads for the search “christmas gifts” (above).

If you’re like many of us, the reason you search for “christmas gifts” is because you are looking for gift ideas. You aren’t the cleverest or most creative person in the world, so you’re struggling to find the perfect gift for someone.

With that in mind, which headline seems personalized to that pain point? “Gift Ideas | 2018 Christmas Gifts –” or “2018 Uncommon Christmas Gifts | Hate Boring Gifts? Us Too”?

Odds are, you’re a lot more likely to go with the latter. It might not be what everyone is looking for, but if you’re looking for clever, unique gift ideas, you’re a lot more likely to go with the ad that seems personalized to your needs.

3. Put together some video ads

As the holiday shopping frenzy builds and advertising competition rises to match it, you can’t just run any old ads and hope for the best. You need ads that earn your customers’ attention, ads that they actually enjoy seeing.

The best way to do this is with high-quality, entertaining video ads.

Unfortunately, trying to force potential customers to pay attention to you with a video is a recipe for failure. During the holidays, most people have so many demands for their attention and money that adding a new advertisement to the mix is more likely to frustrate them than win their business.

But, if you can earn their attention instead of demanding it, your business becomes a welcome, enjoyable relief. As a result, potential customers are a lot more likely to buy from you—both now and in the future.

The easiest way to turn an attention-earning ad into a sales-generating ad is using YouTube’s TrueView for Action campaigns. These are almost exactly like a normal TrueView ad, but TrueView for Action ads give you the ability to add a “Buy Now” or “Shop Now” button to your video.

Here are a few ways to get the most out of TrueView for action campaigns:

  • Hook them quickly. As with most video ads, you only have 5 seconds before people have the option to skip your ad, so start with a bang!
  • Make full use of audio. Even on mobile, lots of people still listen to ads with sound. Make sure that your audio evokes the right emotions from the get-go.
  • Target the right audiences. As mentioned above, targeting the right people is critically important to the success of your holiday shopping campaigns. TrueView for Action is no exception.
  • Keep the pacing fast. If you want to earn their attention, you need to keep things moving. No likes a slow commercial.
  • Use tight framing and bright colors. Tight framing and bright colors are exciting to the eyes, so people are lot more likely to pay attention.

The best video ads earn a customer’s attention by creating a fun, engaging experience, but they should still ultimately make people want to buy your products. You want to evoke a positive emotion and then tie that emotion to what you’re selling. Do that and people will be looking for that “Buy Now” button.

Original Article Here

Bing says it is improving web crawler efficiency

Bing says it is improving web crawler efficiency

Bing is working on making sure their crawler doesn’t miss new content and at the same time overload your web servers.

Responding to user feedback. The update is a follow up to his talk at SMX Advanced in June, during which he announced an 18-month effort to improve BingBot. Canel asked the audience to submit suggestions and feedback.

In a blog post Tuesday, Canel said the team has made numerous improvements based on this feedback and thanked the SMX audience for its contributions. He said they will “continuing to improve” the crawler and share what they’ve done in a new “BingBot series” on the Bing webmaster blog.

BingBot’s goal. In this first post, Canel outlined the goal for BingBot, which is to use an algorithm to determine “which sites to crawl, how often, and how many pages to fetch from each site.” To ensure site’s servers aren’t overloaded by the crawler, the goal of BingBot is to limit its “crawl footprint” on a site while ensuring content in its index is as fresh as possible.

This “crawl efficiency” is the balance Bing is working to strike at scale. Canel said, “We’ve heard concerns that bingbot doesn’t crawl frequently enough and their content isn’t fresh within the index; while at the same time we’ve heard that bingbot crawls too often causing constraints on the websites resources.” It’s a work in progress.

Why should you care? Bing is clearly listening to the webmaster and SEO community. The Webmaster Tools team is making changes to ensure its crawler does not overload your servers while at the same time are faster and more efficient when it comes to finding new content on your web site. Bing is actively working on this and says it will continue to work on this.

How does this impact you? If you add new content to your web site and Bing doesn’t see it, it won’t rank it. That means searchers using Bing will not find your new content.

Recently Bing shut down the anonymous submit URL tool, and we have seen reports that Bing is not listening to submit URL requests even in Bing Webmaster Tools. It is possible the tweaks and changes Bing is making is causing some of this slowness with crawling and indexing now. But ultimately, Bing is clearly working on the issue.

Original Article Here